Partnerships and Technology Are Evolving Healthcare as We Know It

There are big changes on the way when it comes to how we manage our healthcare, and hopefully in turn, what we pay for it. Technology, combined with recent partnerships and acquisitions, have exploded in the healthcare sector.

We work with a number of healthcare companies at TO so I like to stay up on how the industry as a whole is progressing. Here are some of the more interesting advances we can expect to see in healthcare, along with a surprising partnership.

Big data on the rise

My favorite topic ­– big data ­– will find more uses. Big data has already changed how we analyze and utilize data in many industries, but it is on track to have the biggest impact in healthcare. Collecting big data is instrumental in helping both patients and doctors alike, and it is only predicted to grow. Currently, hospital emergency rooms and first responders are using big data to provide assistance first to those who need it most

Looking at the bigger picture, big data has the ability to reduce the costs of treatments, predict epidemic outbreaks, and avert preventable diseases.

Healthcare apps

People are living longer and technology is keeping up. The development of medical and lifesaving apps has exploded. From apps that remind users to take their medication, to best practices for first aid, to telemedicine enabling patients to video chat or text their doctor directly, mobile devices are having a positive impact. In fact, the mobile health app market is projected to reach over $102 billion by 2020.

Electronic health records (EHR)

This is another area that benefits both patients and doctors.  Many medical facilities now offer online portals for patients, providing increased efficiency and better overall quality of care.  Competitive EHR companies regularly release new software that caters to hospitals and doctor’s offices. This market is expected to reach $33.3 billion by the end of 2023 reports Business Insider.

Coming in 2019 for heart surgeons: SupeR BEAT

This healthcare technology helps surgeons before ever stepping into an operating room. The SupeR BEAT training simulator, with extraordinary accuracy, mimics a real beating heart. It uses an artificial muscle wired to electricity. Doctors have had the opportunity to use it in workshops, but the technology won’t be for sale until the fall of this year. Think about the power of that.

Partnerships that could transform our health care

Just announced in January, Walgreens and Microsoft have teamed up in a monster strategic partnership they say to “develop new health care delivery models, technology and retail innovations to advance and improve the future of health care.”

Basically, Walgreens wants to deliver on the promise of putting people at the center of their health and wellness. The partnership will combine Microsoft’s cloud and AI platform (called Azure) with Walgreens store customers who frequent more than 8,000 U.S. retail locations plus those in other countries.

Both companies are committing to a multiyear R&D investment in hopes of building health care solutions that improve our well-being ultimately lowering health care costs for all. In order to accomplish that, both plan to investment in funding, subject-matter experts, along with technology and tools, according to the Walgreens press release.

This… on the heels of CVS Health acquiring Aetna, plus Amazon buying an online pharmacy, PilPack ­– truly indicates that retailers are looking to grow their health care businesses and transform the consumer health experience. Hopefully this will quell the rising healthcare costs as Americans continue to live longer.

Also on the technology front, be on the lookout this year for 12 store-in-store pilots, where Walgreens will offer “digital health corners” to merchandise and sell selected health care-related hardware.

Current health care systems weave a tangled web between the public and private sectors, providers, payors and pharmaceutical companies. Clearly, there is both enormous opportunity and a need to integrate retail with digital technology, creating a data-driven, well-oiled healthcare machine.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a way to better meet compliance deadlines or meet mandated healthcare communications deadlines, reach out. I’ll share how our automated workflow solutions have helped a number of our healthcare clients gain efficiencies.